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White House warns Congress against Pakistan curbs

November 30, 2012

The White House is seen from the South Lawn in Washington, May 15, 2012. - File Photo by Reuters

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration has warned Congress that some of the restrictions it has placed on Pakistan can jeopardise the US-led campaign against terrorism in Afghanistan.

A policy statement issued on Friday by the Executive Office of the US President, warns the lawmakers that placing such limitations on reimbursement to the government of Pakistan was having a negative impact on bilateral relations.

“The administration strongly objects to the certification requirements in section 1216,” says the statement.

Some of “these certification requirements … require the Secretary of Defence to certify Pakistani cooperation on issues outside of his purview”.

The requirements are “proposed at a particularly sensitive time and would severely constrict DOD's ability to respond to emergent war-time coalition support requirements, putting at risk the success of our campaign in Afghanistan,” the statement adds.

“It has been a long, tough haul, yet a concerted team effort on both sides has paid an increment of important dividends,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman, while pointing out a notable positive change in Washington’s attitude towards Islamabad.

“We have moved from a period of constant crisis management to regular cooperation, but multiple transitions in the region and in both countries make caution the best guide in seeking better future in roadmaps for progress,” she cautioned.

Section 1216 of the recently passed National Defence Authorisation Act for US fiscal year 2013 prohibits reimbursement to Pakistan for support during periods when Nato supply lines to Afghanistan remained closed.

The restrictions become effective from the day this act is enacted.